Undrafted players already have found themselves in a position of great uncertainty, and while the NFL’s labor dispute is about to be resolved, they now face another predicament.
It’s expected that Tuesday will signal the beginning of a free agent negotiating period in which rookies could sign either before or at the same time as veterans. In past seasons, teams would have already had the opportunity to address their needs through the draft and free agency. As a result, some agents expect that it will be more of a challenge this season to find the best possible situation for their rookie clients.
For example, a rookie receiver could sign with a team in need of help at that position, but the next day, that same team could sign a veteran wideout, who likely would limit that rookie’s opportunities and suddenly make that place a less desirable fit for the rookie.
That’s not the only element of confusion teams and players will face this week. Players under contract can report to their team headquarters on the required date, but rookies and free agents can’t practice without official contracts. While they can agree to terms with a team, their deals won’t be validated until the start of the league year – believed to be somewhere between Friday and Aug. 2. So, teams will start practicing without a full roster, and then a couple days later, rookies and free agents will start trickling in with camp already in progress.